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North Gwinnett to hold "Rock 4 Robert" benefit concert

File Photo . Robert Pritchard sits in his Buford home as he recalls the night of July 10, 2012 when he suffered a series of strokes. Pritchard a former North Gwinnett football player has now moved back home as he attends rehabilitation at Shepherd Pathways in Decatur five times a week.

File Photo . Robert Pritchard sits in his Buford home as he recalls the night of July 10, 2012 when he suffered a series of strokes. Pritchard a former North Gwinnett football player has now moved back home as he attends rehabilitation at Shepherd Pathways in Decatur five times a week.

SUWANEE -- Once the North Gwinnett football program and community learned about the stroke Robert Pritchard suffered, and his rising medical bills, it was an easy decision to put on an event to support him.

That's why the North Gwinnett High School gym will host a benefit concert on Thursday night for one of its alumni who suffered the medical emergency.

"If your football program truly is family," said event promoter and community coach Mike O'Rouke, "you need to take care of your family."

North Gwinnett graduate Andy Velo, an up-and-coming country music artist, and Alexa Gilomen, a North junior, who recently advanced to Hollywood on "American Idol," will headline a concert where the proceeds benefit Pritchard, who is expected to attend the concert.

"He's in good spirits," O'Rouke said.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Tickets are $10.

Last summer, Pritchard, a 2008 North graduate, suffered from seizures and later found out he had a stroke in July.

His diagnosis was cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a rare form of stroke that results in a blood clot on the brain.

O'Rouke said Pritchard had a procedure on Feb. 10 to reattach his cranium, and has no problem talking and communicating. Pritchard's also enrolled in an online class at the University of Central Florida, which his mother said is a good thing to take his mind off of physical therapy and recovery.

Pritchard, a defensive end, helped lead the Bulldogs to the state championship game his senior year. He was a four-year letterman, recorded 19 career sacks and earned all-county honors as a senior.

Pritchard was a member of the scout team at UCF and earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

After the stroke, he spent a month in a hospital, and has since begun rehabilitation to pursue a master's degree at the UCF.

O'Rouke said expenses for the event are very low because most things have been donated.

Level Creek United Methodist Church is the event sponsor, and Live Event Solutions is putting on the lighting and stage for the event. But O'Rouke said other groups, such as a prayer quilty ministry, a men's Bible study and several local businesses have also contributed.

"Nobody said no, everybody's jumped in and know it's a good cause," O'Rouke said. "We know we're going to be a drop in the bucket as far as expenses go, but at least you're showing the family that you care."

For more information on how to donate to Pritchard, visit www.strokeawarenessfoundation.org.